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Why You Should Intern at redpepper the Semester You Graduate

Why You Should Intern at redpepper the Semester You Graduate

Interning is hard. It’s something I wasn’t warned about before college. I knew I had to take classes, and I knew getting into a club would benefit me, but not one of my high school teachers told me it would be a good idea to get real world work experience…weird.

Now before I go into more detail, this isn’t going to be some sappy post about how much interning has changed my life, this is very much a panic-driven sentiment about how the people and environment of redpepper made my stress riddled last semester enjoyable.

A little backstory…I interned at three different places before I achieved my ultimate goal of redpepper. I started off interning for a company that was all online, and there were only two employees, so there wasn’t much of a support system or collaboration that happened. Then I took my talents to the music industry. Apparently small companies were drawn to hire me, because my next two internships were small companies where they had one person departments. And I’m getting my business degree, so it was hard to go to my internship for eight hours, three days a week, and not really get the interaction that I craved. Nonetheless, I picked up valuable marketing, social media, and general office skills that gave me the clout to be able to apply at redpepper, where I accepted a role as rp marketing intern. This is a cool position, because we are working on branding and marketing redpepper as a company to potential clients.

Another thing I was told about college is that your last semester at college would be easy. I was pretty busy throughout my semesters at Belmont, as their business program is pretty demanding, but the thing that got me through it was knowing my last semester would be easy. Maybe I could just take Clay 1 and skate by class-wise my last semester and devote all my time to my internship. Nope. I am currently in the thick of the busiest semester of my life. I am not a fan of group projects and I am currently juggling four, along with tests and papers, so I am basically living in a perpetual state of stress.

That being said, redpepper is my saving grace. I have never interned somewhere where the people cared so much about making sure you have a good experience. They care so much about making sure not only that you’re getting a great experience but also that you have the time and the mental capability to graduate. We are more than just the “fall interns,” we are people and we are friends who care about each other.

The fact that redpepper has an open dog policy really helps my stress levels as well. There are five dogs here on any given day which only contributes to the unique culture that redpepper has.  If I need a break from work or an escape from projects, I can play with the dogs, play ping pong, or practice my putting on the golf green. It’s a great environment which I think fosters better work because the work turns into something you want to do, not something that is shoved down your throat.

Finally, redpepper is in what has become my favorite area in Nashville: Germantown. Germantown has this really cool vibe that transports you from the south into a New England style red brick road. Red Bicycle is my go-to coffee place (their macaroon latte is to die for), and they have a sandwich that is literally just egg, bacon, cheese, and hashbrowns…what else would a stressed-out college student want? Right next door, there’s a cute little restaurant called Lulu’s (which I struggled to read because of the unique font) which is perfect for those days when you just need to cry into baked goods and their double chocolate chip gluten free cookie is the best thing for that.

College is hard. Interning is hard. Working is hard. But if you can find the right place that makes interning enjoyable, jump on it, and that place for me is redpepper. In a last semester that is filled with work, where the motto which I find myself saying at least once a day is “I’m just trying to graduate,” you need to surround yourself with supportive people, supportive dogs, and comfort food. Thanks to redpepper, for at least two days a week, I don’t feel like a struggling college student, I feel like a working girl with the best colleagues in the world.

 

Nikki Blais, rp Marketing Intern, Boston, MA

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What Makes the Video Internship Unforgettable

What Makes the Video Internship Unforgettable

Several months ago I was scouring the internet in search of a place in which to grow my skills in marketing and videography. I perused site after site looking for a place that would be an ideal fit, until I finally came upon redpepper. I applied and was hired on as a summer intern in the video department. I came in my first day nervous and energized thinking about what this position would have for me. These are the most valuable take-aways as a redpepper video intern.

Creative Expression
At redpepper we value everyone’s unique creativity. The video internship allowed me to imagine and create to my heart's content. During video shoots I was encouraged to try new angles and challenged to see things from different perspectives to tell unique stories. My mentor gave me the freedom to explore new ideas and the independence to execute projects on my own if I wanted. This internship is the perfect dose of free expression and creative guidance.

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Collaboration
I was able to collaborate with my fellow interns to create media content for the intern website. We sat down and came up with a number of ideas for photos and videos we could create. We then executed our ideas and had a blast doing it. Working together allowed us to bring different people’s ideas together and create something entirely new.

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Variety
Each day as a video intern is like a box of chocolates, you never know whatcha gonna get. This position requires a lot of adaptability and is never boring. On any given day you might be editing, recording video, setting up equipment, taking photos or storyboarding an upcoming video. Depending on your interests you can also involve yourselves in the whatever project or department you are interested in. You get the opportunity to wear a lot of hats and become a pro in a variety of areas.

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Big Al’s
During my first couple weeks the video team took me out to breakfast at a diner in Germantown called Big Al’s. It is an amazing hole in the wall restaurant that really wakes you up in the morning. It was here that I had great conversations with my mentors about my career goals and initiatives I could take to improve my skills in videography while at redpepper. This place opened my eyes to how much effort redpepper puts into making your intern experience valuable and enjoyable.

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Rock Climbing
redpepper is a relational company and the employees are eager to make friends and interact with the interns. It’s employees are also very health conscious and stay active. Combining these two passions the video team took time to go rock climbing together. We worked out our muscles and racing up different routes and belaying each other. This internship allowed me to make great connections and new friendships.

As a redpepper video intern you have the opportunity to make new friends, hone your videography skills, and participate in work for large clientele. The experiences are unforgettable, the work is engaging and the people are inspiring. Take the leap to be a redpepper intern, you will never regret it.

 

Craig Thompson, Video intern, Carmel, IN

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Do You Know You?

Do You Know You?
How to find your purpose in life and the resources to do so

That line might be weird for you. Your purpose. Those are pretty heavy words.

My name is Meredith, I’m a recent college graduate. That’s probably the scariest sentence to write... A GRADUATE- meaning big girl world is here, I’m in it. No going back now. After graduating I decided to move to a new city where I knew no one and started an internship at redpepper.

While being at redpepper I’ve realized a few things:

  1. Although I graduated with a degree and have had previous internships I really don’t know what I want to do with my life.

  2. I’ve learned that the thing I mentioned above is okay. Most people don’t know.

  3. I’ve learned that passion trumps most things. The more you care, the harder you work.

  4. I need to get my life together.

Everyone at redpepper loves what they do. I’m constantly surrounded by intelligent, driven, passionate people.  Most of them have passions outside of work that give insight to who they are as a person beyond their job titles. Although my goals were a bit unconventional I wanted to do more at redpepper than add something to my resume. I wanted to grow as a person. One of their main values is that they actively support personal growth- so I decided to do just that.

So what does any like-minded individual do when they are looking for ways to grow as a person?

They turn to Youtube for answers. Yeah, you read that right. Youtube.

Here are some videos I found that I’ve decided to watch religiously. They’ve given me insights to people’s passions, ideas, worries and a lot of things in between. I’m not saying that these videos are going to solve my problems, or yours for that matter, but they’ve helped me find some purpose. I’m growing people, it’s scary but exciting and I encourage you to do the same.

DO WHAT YOU CAN’T- Casey Neistat
This is Casey Neistat- well this is one of his videos. You may have heard of him. He’s very popular on YouTube. He makes daily videos about his life, to inspire others. He motivates me to do more, be better, work harder. I watch his videos pretty much every day, after, I reflect on what I’m doing with my life and where I can improve. I’M TRYING TO GROW HERE PEOPLE!

Ted Talk- Adam Driver
This is Adam Driver. If you’ve ever seen the show Girls, then you’d recognize him. He’s a very talented actor. He also was a Marine. This video is about is transition from Marine to actor and all of the revelations he made in between. When I watch this video is makes me think of all the paths and directions we can take in life. In the end, what’s meant to be happens anyways. So for the time being, I’m just going to live the best I can.

The Last Lecture- Randy Pausch
This is Randy Pausch. I won’t ruin what exactly this last lecture is about but it will impact your life. And don’t roll your eyes that it’s almost two hours long, we both know you’ve spent many days binge watching shows on Netflix, c’mon. There is also a book based off of this lecture, if you’re more of a reader- go for it. I don’t like to make promises when pinkys aren’t involved but I promise this is important.

Make It Count- Casey Neistat
Casey Neistat here again. He’s one of my most favorite humans. I’m biased but you’ve read this far so something has sparked your interest. Following through is one of the most important things you can do. When you say you’re going to do something and you do it. It’s also one of the things I’m not the greatest at. I fear commitment on any spectrum. Casey Neistat helps me with that, maybe he can help you too.

So what can you gain from this? I think that all depends on the person you are. We form into the humans we are by the experiences we have. You may watch these videos and they may impact you to be better and do better. They may not. Either way it is your choice. If I can tell you a few things- take every second of every day for what it is, enjoy life, learn as much as you can, HUSTLE & GROW. This powerful impactful moment has been brought to you by Meredith Queen, you’re welcome.

 

Meredith Queen, Event Sales & Management intern, Lexington, KY

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5 Things I wish I knew before starting at redpepper

5 Things I wish I knew before starting at redpepper

Before starting here at redpepper there are some things I wish I had known. I’ve created a list of things to help you make your first week one you won’t forget. Read other blog posts as well and learn as much as you can.

1. Dress casual, comfortable, but still professional
On your first day, you’ll want to dress to impress. However, you’ll soon discover that the dress code at redpepper doesn’t exist. If you ride a bike to work and have to wear athletic gear every day, no one cares. redpepper is far from corporate—so you can leave your suit and tie in the closet for the semester.

2. Coffee & Questions - go to every one. View them as great opportunities to learn and ask questions about other departments
You’ll be interning in one of redpepper’s many departments, but you may find that you have questions about some of the others. As part of the intern program, redpepper has set up blocks of time for each of the department heads to come and speak with all of the interns and answer any questions that the interns may have about what they do. It’s a great way to meet people who are excellent at their jobs, learn more about how an agency operates, and maybe you will learn that you are interested in a department you never thought you would be. Go to every one. View them as great opportunities to learn and ask questions. Before you go, set aside time to write down some questions you might have! They love curiosity and talking about what they love about their jobs. It also keeps you engaged and helps you learn.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
The first couple of days you might feel a little awkward or out of place. It’s a new environment with new people, and they’re all amazing. Once you get past the awkward stage, open yourself up and ask questions! Everyone here was where you are at one point and they want to see you grow.

4. Go to as many meetings as possible - rp is all about growth. Learning everything you can is key to growth
rp is very transparent with everything they do. Ask your manager if you can sit on a meeting or on a call; they’ll usually say yes. The benefit to going to meetings is getting to watch people who are excellent at their jobs do excellent work. redpepper is a very successful agency because of the smart, successful people who run it. You’re only here for a short time and it goes fast, so make the most of it.

5. You’ll want to try and bring your lunch everyday but you’ll probably end up just going out with fellow interns.
It’s not easy waking up a little earlier to make yourself lunch. At the beginning of the semester, you’ll probably do it and feel stoked about it. But as soon as one of the other interns at work mentions one of the many delicious restaurants around redpepper, your homemade lunch in the fridge sounds much less appetizing. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting at Five Points Pizza with the other interns, your lunch at redpepper completely forgotten. If you can manage to fight the temptation to go to Little Donkey, Lulu, Juice Bar or the Farmer’s Market, bringing your lunch is a great idea. If not, welcome to the club.

During my time at redpepper I have met incredible people and learned from best in the business. I’ve learned to ask purposeful questions, actively seek growth, and embrace learning. Being in Nashville with great people and a phenomenal internship has made up one amazing summer.

AJ Cooper, rp Marketing intern, Tampa, FL

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CALM DOWN: You're More Prepared Than You Think

CALM DOWN: You’re more prepared than you think
Tips and tricks for nailing the first week.

As the hunt for an internship begins, you may find yourself asking a great deal of questions about how to best prepare. Little do you know, you’re more prepared than you thought. How, you might ask? Well, take a look back on your time in college. Whether you’ve been in school for 6 months or 4 years, you’ve picked up on a variety of skills and lessons that run parallel with what you need in order to succeed at redpepper. Beginning with your first steps on campus to your last few exams of the semester, each day counts. Each day brings different interactions, all of which contribute to your ability to succeed not only on campus, but in the workplace as well.

1. College orientation / first day at redpepper:
We can all remember that overwhelming feeling after stepping onto campus the first time. You’re hit with that “here we go” moment as you take your first tour around. As you become aware of your surroundings and take in your home for the next few years, you begin thinking about all of the things you will try to accomplish as you begin to experience your first time as an independent teenager.

That same feeling presents itself when you take your first steps through the double doors of redpepper. As you look around and take in all of your surroundings, it’s hard not to feel a sense of accomplishment. You did it, you went through the application process, and were chosen to be one of the valuable interns added to the redpepper team. Plus, who doesn’t love playing ping pong and darts during your lunch break?

2. Schedule building / redpepper Calendar integrating
After arriving to school, you’re given the exciting task of building your first ever class
schedule. This is typically the first time you’ve done anything remotely organized since the last school year, so of course it can take some time. Creating your schedule to fit your personal needs, whether you’re a morning person or someone who can’t seem to get up before 11 am, is always a vital part of your collegiate success.

The same can be said about getting set up with your brand new redpepper calendar. Client meetings, weekly 1 on 1’s with your mentor, and a variety of other things makeup your weekly schedule. Your calendar is something that you rely on each day as you take on your role as an intern. Some may even call it a lifeline, as it keeps you on track and helps manage your time while you’re here. Always be sure to treat your calendar like your class schedule: Be on time. Attend every meeting. Take good notes.

3. First week of class jitters / First week of the internship jitters
As you woke up for the first day of classes, you probably couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead. Although this feeling most likely doesn’t last all year long, there’s just something special about getting new professors and meeting new classmates. This is the week that you get to start anew, feeling out how the rest of your semester might play out, so it’s important to take extra time to capture all of your surroundings. Each day this week will present a new challenge, whether it’s adjusting to a new teaching style or even finding the right place to sit in class, so overcoming these obstacles are nothing short of important.

The same feelings will emerge on the first day of your internship. Shortly, you will be entering redpepper is a new intern, with nothing but weeks of learning and opportunities ahead. The exposure to new experiences is endless, and during the first week you will understand how important it is to stay active, meet your fellow interns/mentors, and watch how the redpepper employees operate on a daily basis. The first week is your baseline for the rest of the internship, so the way you present yourself and pay attention to the little details, such as getting to meetings on time and keeping your workspace clean, are essential.

4. Building relationships with students and professors / Building relationships with fellow interns and mentors
Throughout your collegiate experience, you probably built many relationships. These relationships laid the platform down for the rest of your time at school, and will even carry over into the rest of your life beyond your university. Time and time again, you have relied on a friend or two to help you catch up on an assignment, study for an exam or give you a ride to class. The truth is, without having those people around you, college would be a lot more difficult, which is why maintaining those relationships can help you further down the road.

At redpepper, you are constantly surrounded by a whole slew of intelligent people. From creative minds to the tech-geniuses, there is no short of talented and charismatic interns and employees. This is another reason why building those relationships among your fellow coworkers is so important, because one day you could be in need of a job, a mentor, or just someone to talk to, and having so many caring people here makes that much more compelling. No one knows what the future holds, which is a perfect reason to constantly meet new people. You just never know when your paths may cross again.

5. The fun stuff
Everyone knows that college is filled with exciting things to do, whether you participate in intramurals, clubs and organizations, greek life, etc. There is always something to do when you’re wanting to get out of your room for the day/night. In school, socializing becomes a daily thing, whether you like it or not. These interactions can fuel your desire to meet up with friends for a drink, go catch a movie or do the other 1,000+ things that college students have the opportunity to do. This is what makes college so great. You have the freedom to participate in activities while meeting new people and having a blast.

At redpepper, you will find that there is no shortage of things to do in and outside of the office. As a former member of the sand volleyball team, (and yes, redpepper has two sand volleyball teams that play in the Nashville competitive co-ed league) my eyes were opened to how fun and competitive fellow redpepper employees can be. And this was just the start. There are bowling tournaments, happy hours, canoeing trips and more. And if none of that sounds like something you’d be interested in, there’s a pretty impressive book club as well.

The moral of the story here is that at redpepper, you get to be yourself. The excitement and anxiety you’re feeling as you begin to take that next step in your life while applying for internships is something that we’ve all been through, so don’t you worry. The 5 topics I’ve discussed above are just the beginning. You are more prepared than you think, and if you have the confidence and determination to make your internship dreams a reality, you’ll do just fine.

 

Avery Jankowski, Client Services intern, Nashville, TN

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You Can Sit With Us

You Can Sit With Us

Many of us can probably identify with the memory of our first day in a new school or the start of a school year. The awkward struggle of where to sit at lunch, or better yet, who to sit at lunch with.

You scan the room and take notice of the jocks, the dweebs, the band geeks, the artsy kids, the list could go on and on. All have their “clique,” their niche, their passion. Each posse clings to one another making it clear where boundaries lie. Interactions are often rare, few, and far between.

However, unlike the eventful recollections of high school lunch breaks, redpepper doesn’t view these different groups as boundaries that divide us. Instead, the stark contrasts amongst peers showcase the different gifts that each group holds. redpepper believes that everyone is uniquely creative. Each person offering the innate ability to be creative within our own niches + passions, providing other groups a different set of lenses that they may need.

As an intern to the agency’s producer, I had the wonderful opportunity of working hands-on with multiple clients and their production needs. My role varied and evolved throughout summer, from assistant prop styling on shoots to working with nitty gritty budgets to revamping the agency freelancer bank. However, some of my favorite memories at rp involve working alongside the Cracker Barrel client team. Allow me the opportunity to introduce them to you.

Meet our Cracker Barrel table:

Chris K, The Creative Director

Chris K, The Creative Director

Lauren, The Account Director

Lauren, The Account Director

Levi, The Account Executive

Levi, The Account Executive

Sarah, The Project Manager

Sarah, The Project Manager

Chris A, The Art Director

Chris A, The Art Director

Matt, The Producer

Matt, The Producer

Ily, The Designer

Ily, The Designer

Lindsay, The Copywriter

Lindsay, The Copywriter

Over the course of the summer, each person on the team has not only impacted the way I view professional teamwork, but has also influenced me as a future communicator. As Creative Director, Chris K carries the torch in creative leadership and embodies the “If you lead, your team will follow” example. Lauren and Levi always strive to present our best work to the client, even if it means more hours at the office. Sarah is truly our “mom” of the group that is able to balance hustle and attentiveness to the team in the most caring way. Chris A’s ability to extract creativity from any crevice, Ily’s talent to bring ideas visually to life, and Lindsey’s mastery at illustrating ideas through words -- all rises to meet any challenge presented by the client. And lastly Matt, my mentor, has the ability to see every project from a global angle, while truly caring about every element of the process.

Our Cracker Barrel team is quite diverse, and I don’t just mean in the range of hair color (*since these headshots were taken, orange, pink and purple hair have also made their debut). Our age, our experiences, our roles, our humor, our knowledge and our approach is completely different. The only thing that actually bridges us is the fact that we are different creatively. From dailies to internal reviews, to pre-production meetings and being on set, each person performs and ideates with a set of skills that is unique to them.

It is because of our differences that our work is so unique. It is a direct reflection of the ideas spilled onto pages, a mirror of the time in collaborative sessions and an interwoven quilt of creativity. Titles do not draw us into boxes, instead fuel us to find others different than ourselves. Everyone contributes to further and better the work.

For the future intern, you can look forward to sitting at the Cracker Barrel table (or any other team table for that matter) with the expectation that you have been invited and accepted to eat alongside a unique set of individuals that want to see you grow in your own creative skillset. This is more than a workplace, but a diverse family that is not only looking to complete the task at hand, but one that spurs each other on no matter how different they are.

So, let’s meet back in the lunchroom. If we all sat at separate tables, siloed to people just like ourselves - designers with designers, copywriters with copywriters, executives with executives- our work as an agency wouldn’t dare contain as much richness, depth, or approachability. We wouldn’t be effective as an agency if we continued to compartmentalize our talents like high schoolers at their appropriate lunch tables. At the redpepper table, unique creativity makes our agency that much stronger.

Point made: At redpepper, regardless of your role, title or permanence (talking about you, interns ☺), you are uniquely creative. So no matter what group you belong to, grab a chair. You CAN sit with us.

 

Nikki Acosta, Production Services intern, Charlotte, NC

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F I V E Lessons I Learned from the rp Marketing Team

F I V E Lessons I Learned from the rp Marketing Team

On my very first day at redpepper I, like all interns, was introduced to my mentors: Samara Anderson, Elizabeth Moore, and Alyssa Kalams, formally referred to as the redpepper marketing department. I would compare this trio's level of greatness to something so great only Destiny's Child themselves could surpass it. As a marketing intern, my job is centered around bringing in new clients. Everyday looks a little different than the last -- between researching, client meetings, blog posts, intern projects, and the occasional canoe trip, things stay busy. Mentors are the friendly face standing behind you in line for the free food, but they also serve as the guiding force behind everything you do during your intern experience. Unlike most internships, at redpepper, your mentor is freely accessible and ready to hear every opinion, question, and concern.  A little bit of background information to catch you up-to-date:

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Samara Anderson
Samara serves as the director of marketing. She brings in the cash and the clients with pristine luscious locks, quick wit, and a workout schedule that easily rivals Jillian Michaels’s. Leave her in a room with a client for 30 minutes and I promise you they will walk away with a signed contract.

 

 

 


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Elizabeth Moore
Elizabeth handles all digital marketing for redpepper, to say she stays busy would be an understatement.  She is a master of all things automated and Hubspot and a firm believer that cats will always trump dogs. The only thing this girl is more passionate about than her job is a good True Crime podcast (the more disturbing the better).

 

 

 


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Alyssa Kalams
If you ever want to see what a fashionable millennial should dress like, I would gladly refer you to Alyssa, the rp sales coordinator. She may or may not have worn jeans for a week that bruised her skin because #fashion. The only thing more on point than her pants is her schedule. Alyssa knows how to get things done, often times before anyone else realizes they need to be done.

 

 

 

These women have offered me such different and unique perspectives of the marketing world. With only a week left in my internship, I feel it’s important to look back and reflect on my time at redpepper, and find some pink gold (redpepper talk for “Hey, this is what I learned!!”)

1. It’s not personal, so don’t take it like it is
All three of my mentors are very engaging people with very dominant personalities. There is a 10/10 chance that I screwed up numerous tasks this summer. There is also a 10/10 chance that I was called out each time. It wasn’t personal, it never is. So don’t act like it’s the end of the world or it’s all your fault. You live. You learn. You move on. Do things in this order and everyone walks away with friendships still intact at the end of the day.

2. If you want it, go for it!
So much of redpepper’s success can be attributed to the marketing department’s willingness to go for it. Don’t let anything stand in your way. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you don’t know, form connections, take risks, and be bold. During my first week, I remember asking Alyssa, “What is one thing you wish you had known before you were an intern?” She thought about it for a second and said, “I wish I would have realized that there are so many connections to be made. I remember Samara telling me on my first day that everyone here knows someone. That’s so true!” Expand your network and don’t be shy!

3. Knowledge is power
There is always so much to be learned. I work with three of the most successful women in the marketing industry (maybe a biased opinion, but you get the picture). All three of my mentors have a hunger and thirst for learning -- Elizabeth spends half of her days researching new digital marketing strategies. No matter how successful you are there is always room for growth. Dig into news articles, websites, white pages, research case studies, and whatever else you can get your hands on. Read, read, and read some more. When you think you’ve read enough, keep reading.

4. Become an active participant
Don’t just sit there! Speak your mind and raise your voice. If you don’t have anything to say, take notes! Absorb as much information as you can so you can form an opinion. Not sure what in the world is going on? Ask questions until you do. Whatever you do, please don’t just sit there, and if you are going to just sit there and completely disregard my advice, don’t let Samara see you. This goes hand and hand with the whole, “Knowledge is Power,” concept. When you ask questions, take notes, and listen carefully, you’re expanding your understanding of the world around you. As you expand your understanding it’s important you recognize that there is value in others’ opinions as well, be willing to compromise and be willing to see both sides of a topic.

5. You're never fully dressed without a great pair of shoes
My first day at redpepper I walked into the New Biz meeting room and sat next to Samara. As I looked around the table I noticed a common denominator -- GREAT SHOES! I looked at Samara and said something that a true suck-up might say like "Oh my gosh, your shoes are so great! I love them!!" Being the sassy human she is, she flashed a smile, winked, and retorted with something to the effect of, "Well now you know the secret, you know how to get to the top!"

Obviously in my time at redpepper I've learned that a lot of factors go into success, a lot of factors that take a lot of time and commitment, but if you want to look great while becoming successful, don't forget a fabulous pair of shoes.

 

Margaret Frank, rp Marketing intern, Nashville, TN

 

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Taking a Detour with redpepper

Taking a Detour with redpepper

I recently graduated in May from Chapman University as a graphic design major, yet my job search began long before this. March arrived and I began scouring the internet’s many platforms (LinkedIn, Indeed, you name it...) looking for just the right fit. And to be honest, I never imagined that an internship would fulfill what I was looking for. I discovered redpepper through a friend, and after spending a couple hours browsing their various social media platforms and website, I was pretty sold. Initially I reached out to redpepper’s talent manager who let me know that while there were no open positions, they were accepting summer intern applications. I was a bit skeptical of this, only because it didn’t fit into my perfect post-grad plan and it likely meant spending a summer living at home with my parents... not exactly the glamorous future I had planned for myself. Pushing my concerns aside, I eventually decided to go for it. I applied, got an interview, and then waited. You know when you go on a first date with someone and then you keep thinking about them? Maybe a little online stalking? Yeah, redpepper was kinda like that for me.

A couple weeks passed by before hearing that I was accepted. While I was still a bit hesitant about an internship, I was so sure about redpepper, its values, and the people I had interacted with so far, so ultimately it was an easy decision. Exactly a month later, I walked into redpepper for my first day, curious as to how my experience would shape this post-grad life of mine. After almost two full months of spending time at this fine establishment each week, I can honestly say this internship has exceeded my expectations and any post graduate would be smart to take advantage of this amazing experience. So, let me bestow a little wisdom upon you…

1. Real life experience.
redpepper truly takes this to the next level. Each intern is given at least one mentor that gives you direction and guidance during your time at redpepper. I had two mentors, Sara and Caitlyn, and the insight I gained from them throughout the internship was worth my time alone. I spent most of my days tagging along to various client meetings with the creative team, brainstorming concepts, and creating content that was actually presented to clients. Ideas from interns are considered with as much gravity as if they were coming from an art director - there’s none of this superiority crap going on. So that’s pretty dang cool.

2. New friends!
Starting life somewhere new is intimidating, and it’s quite different than college where you’re placed in an ideal situation to make new friends. redpepper, however, practically hands you 13 new talented, driven, and freakin’ awesome pals. It surprised me immensely how close the group of us became. Whether you’re moving back home or looking to experience a new city, it’s the perfect opportunity to build new friendships.

3. A little break before “real life” begins
Life after college may sound fun and glamorous, but I actually cherished this little bit of time I was able to dedicate fully to focus on my design skills, meet stellar humans, and learn more about myself. The work at redpepper is no joke; it’s challenging and often intimidating. It does, however, allow you to grow in ways that a “real job” wouldn’t. You can experiment more and really get out of your comfort zone.

4. Connections
“Connections are the most important part of getting a job.” I’ve heard that phrase countless times and have admittedly underestimated its true value. Everyone at redpepper has been in the creative industry for a bit, and with this comes connections in many areas. This can be extremely beneficial for the future, and if you kick some butt during your internship, you never know where those connections could lead you!

Two of the close friends I’ve made during these past couple of months had similar feelings about their decision, so I asked them for a bit of insight as well. Here’s what they had to say...

“I felt like I wanted to be sure of what I wanted to do. This helped me realize that I really wanted to go into advertising.” -McKenzie Dorris
“I wanted to find a new location to live, and now I know that I love Nashville! It’s intimidating to take a job and not know whether or not you like the city, so it was the perfect solution.” - Meredith Queen

So, to all you post-grads perusing this page and questioning whether or not this is the right path to take, I pose the question: why the heck not? Learn from new colleagues, strengthen your skillsets, make connections, and spend some time in the beautiful city of Nashville as a redpepper for the summer (or a semester). You really can’t go wrong.

 

Molly Peach, Design intern, Nashville, TN

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Are You Growing or Dying?

Are You Growing or Dying?

As redpepper interns, my teammates and I were tasked with creating a photo for our website that accurately depicts what being an intern is like. The goal was to add our own spin on the website and create something that acknowledged the company culture. At the start of our intern project I was intimidated. A room full of talented, well-spoken individuals with creative ideas. How was I going to contribute to the process of concepting these cover photo ideas in a room full of such capability and promise? We began to brainstorm on what we could do to be different and innovative, yet still refined enough to post on our website. There was an outpouring of ideas, and before we knew it, we had concepted 3 great directions we could act on. I have to admit, I didn’t feel that I had added much to the ideas by the end.

Over the next couple of weeks, our group began to grow closer and get to know each other. We slowly formed a team that knew how to work with each other and produce results for any task that was assigned to us. The time for us to begin producing the  website cover photo came and it all went smoothly. We were able to count on each other’s skills and abilities without hesitation. If someone said they would get it done, no one questioned them.

As a client services intern, most of what I work on from a day to day standpoint is making sure that the work redpepper is creating goes well with what the client is imagining. So, naturally, I didn’t have a whole lot to add about the project from a photography aspect. Most of what I could help with were general tasks like looking up similar concepts, comparing other intern sites, or sometimes just organizing notes. I worked under this role for most of the experience and it was all going well.

That is, until we needed to present our ideas.

I had started working on our keynote presentation when, suddenly, someone asked who was going to present. I offered up my services thinking someone else would eventually say that they could do it instead and I wouldn’t have to. This moment never happened and I eventually realized that I was going to have to present a portion of the concepts. Public speaking and presenting ideas has never been my strong suit and all of a sudden I was speaking for a whole group of interns. The same interns that I was so impressed with just a few weeks back.

I had helped to create the presentation so it only made sense that I take part in presenting it, yet I still felt massively unprepared to do so. We started presenting our photo concepts and as I looked around at my teammates I realized that this wasn’t a big deal at all. My team trusted me to do my assignment because they knew that I was capable of completing it. It was a terrific learning experience for me and is a moment that I will always look back on as a moment of growth.

This internship has encouraged me to ask myself a difficult question, “Are you truly growing as a person?” Sometimes we get stuck on the day to day grind of just getting the job done and that isn’t something that fosters success. Not pushing yourself to improve in your professional and personal life can severely inhibit your ability to perform. That’s why one of my favorite core values that redpepper holds is, “If we aren’t changing we’re dying.”  As someone who has recently graduated college, I was looking for growth in my next endeavor and I couldn’t have asked for a better agency to do so with.

 

Maclain Myers, Client Services intern, Nashville, TN

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Nothing Floppy About DiSCs

Nothing Floppy About DiSCs

Have you heard of the DiSC profile test? Me neither, until 20 minutes into the first day of my internship at redpepper, when all of us interns were filling out our names to start the test.

It’s a series of questions that determines your priorities, whether it be dominance (D), influence (i), steadiness (S), or conscientiousness (C). The results can be any combination of letters, or just a singular letter as well. Basically by knowing what you are, you’re able to figure out how to work best with the other types out there. In collaborative work, you’re more efficient if you know to let the D’s implement their ideas, the i’s take action, the S’s create procedures, and the C’s ensure accuracy. More importantly, everyone is happier when they’re being understood, which is the ultimate goal.

So 20 minutes earlier, I had just walked in through the front doors at redpepper, thinking that I was coming in with an open mind, eager to learn and ready to work. Little did I know that I was so wrong and unprepared for what this internship would teach me in just 20 minutes.

Everyday we walk around with certain assumptions that we’ve made based on past experiences. These can be stories that we’ve heard or ones that we lived ourselves. Try as hard as you might, but these assumptions are hard to shake. So, even though I had thought I was prepared for all the new things I was about to learn, I still had some assumptions ingrained in me that I wasn’t even aware of.

Assumption #1: You don’t always know what you thought you knew
At first, I was so confident that I knew what my profile was. I’ve taken the Myers Briggs personality test, and I know what people tell me everyday. I’m an introvert and I care about people most of all. So I could guess that I was probably a C or an S, someone who doesn’t really like to make waves with the people I’m working with. Surprisingly, I’m an iD. At first, I immediately rejected the profile, thinking that I knew better than this new info. I had this misconception about what iD’s were, that they always had to have their way and were always dominating the group. First of all, I was way off the mark with that assumption. My mentors quickly explained how to go through the rest of the report, where it explained that iD’s love to take action, develop new relationships, and persuade others. All of that was true for me, especially in the way that I work. Second of all, I hadn’t taken a workplace profile test like this before, so it was completely irrational for me to be assuming that I knew myself in this context already. And why had I accepted what others thought of me as the truth before? I needed to toss these assumptions out and take these new ideas to heart.

Assumption #2: All of this culture doesn’t actually matter
What I love above redpepper is that nothing about the culture is taken lightly. Those five core values on the wall power the company, and that’s something that can’t be ignored. (Take a look at Andie’s blog post for more insight on our values.) The DiSC profile plays a part of in our culture as well, because it helps root this company. When we understand each other, we recognize our uniqueness but we’re able to grow more effectively as a whole. Whenever I ask my mentors “why do we do this,” the answer is always ”because it’s part of who we are” or “it’s what we believe in.” So, even though it might slip my mind, I’m constantly reminded that a business needs to stay true to its roots, kind of like people. And isn’t that the point, because what would a business be without its people?

Assumption #3: Forget about it
We didn’t just forget about the DiSC profile after onboarding, which is what I assumed would happen. I’ve worked in places before where everything they teach you during training can just be forgotten about 5 minutes later because no one actually implements it. I assumed this company would be just like all those other places. I was wrong. We checkback to the DiSC profile so much, and it is necessary. Often times, I’ve heard “oh it’s the high i in her,” and it’s not an insult. It’s a simple explanation that reminds everyone in the room that everyone works differently, and the best way to work together is to understand where they’re coming from. We’re not going to change who we are as individuals, but we can compromise to generate the best work possible. Sometimes I wish I could make everyone in my life take this test, because it makes communication so much easier when you know exactly what someone prioritizes in life.

Assumption #4: You can’t always be who you want to be
Always stay true to who you are. If you’re an iD, be an iD. Take what you need from your work environment and be aggressive about it. If you need to be creative, ask for the work that will let your ideas flow. If you need time to zone, go for it and don’t be scared of giving yourself that personal time. This is why we take the DiSC profile test; to understand ourselves as workers on a deeper level. Take the information the test gives you, and allow yourself to apply that clarity to the work that you do. When you’re doing what you need to get done for yourself, you’re developing your best work, and that is all redpepper wants for you.

There you have it; the 4 assumptions I made but really shouldn’t have. Even so, I’ve learned more by learning over what I had learnt before. So all in all, I’ve come to realize I shouldn’t shame myself for those assumptions. Everyone has them, and the only way to overcome them is to admit that they exist. Only then can you accept another novel truth.

 

Wes Lu, Operations intern, Montgomery, NY

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Why redpeppers are like red peppers

Why redpeppers are like red peppers

redpeppers. Red peppers. You said those with different inflections, didn’t you? Besides the fact that red peppers are veggies and redpepper is an advertising agency, there are some pretty interesting similarities between the two. Are you ready to have your mind blown?

Do Not Tolerate Cold
Red peppers are summer plants. They thrive in the sun and warmth, and shrivel up and die in the cold. They just can’t handle it! redpepper employees could be considered summer personalities. They thrive in warm, inviting, and open environments. Their creativity and passion knows no bounds when surrounded by like-minded individuals. Coldness, unfriendliness, and a stormy disposition equals sadness and let’s be real, it’s hard to work with unhappy people. We want ideas and ambition to thrive, not shrivel up and die.

Versatile
How many plates can you think of that have red peppers in them? How many different ways can you think of preparing red peppers? The possibilities are endless. Whether chopped, sauteed, baked, spiced, or plain, red peppers are pretty delicious no matter how you cook ‘em. The same can be said for redpepper employees. Whether they’re thinking up ingenious marketing plans, whipping together some killer copy, or brainstorming the next national campaign, you could say redpeppers do it all.

Nutritional Content Increases with Age
As the red pepper matures, their sugar and nutritional content increases. redpepper employees are no different. The environment at redpepper fosters personal growth and creativity, and it’s hard to be here and not feel the culture pulsing off the walls. Everyone buys into the culture and the collaboration between departments and individuals is pretty inspiring. It’s safe to say that the longer you’re here, the more you grow.

And now that you’re acquainted with the best qualities of redpepper, here’s a great recipe you can make:

redpepper goulash delight

1 dashing smile
3 tbs confidence
The lenses of Chrimmons’ spectacles, ground
One lock of Winnie fur
4 cups coffee
2 instances of hustle

Preheat oven to 350℉

Combine 1 dashing smile, Chrimmons’ lenses, and 4 cups coffee into medium mixing bowl, whisk thoroughly for 3 minutes. Put to side.

Sprinkle confidence and hustle along bottom of pan. Pour mixture on top, spreading evenly. Place in oven. After goulash has baked, let sit for 20 mins or until cooled. Sprinkle Winnie fur on top for garnish.

 

McKenzie Dorris, Design intern, Metropolis, IL

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The Rhythm of redpepper

The Rhythm of redpepper

redpepper is located right outside of downtown Music City, and the relationship between the two is deep. Many redpeppers play or are at least familiar with an instrument, and some more than one. No, we don’t sit around playing instruments at work, but we do host private concerts occasionally. One of my favorite features of redpepper is the constant music played out over the speakers in Wonderland. It’s background noise, for sure, but it creates an environment that is enjoyable to work in and conducive for producing new ideas or researching. As I thought through this post, it seemed only right, because we are in Nashville and because of how much I love music, to showcase the many departments and shared values of redpepper through songs. So sit back, relax and hit “play” here.

Work by Rihanna—This song encompasses the attitude of every redpepper to hustle. At redpepper, you’ll never see anyone with nothing to do. Every redpepper knows that they have a job to do and is not afraid to tackle it head-on, full-force, every single day. This song has a quick tempo and a strong rhythm, just like a typical day at redpepper. As soon as you walk in the doors at rp, you better be ready to work, work, work, work, work.

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Just What I Needed by The Cars—Our new business team works double-time, all the time, to make sure that redpepper continues building relationships with top-notch clients. We believe in building mutually beneficial relationships, and friendships, with every client we work with. When our new business team scores the perfect client to make our dreams come true, we all agree that that client is just what we needed.

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It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock—redpepper is an agency of teams. Any time a new client walks through our doors and into our hearts, we’ve got the perfect people to make their vision for their project a reality. From digital to user experience, we pull together a group of uniquely creative individuals to “make a thing go right.” It takes more than just two at redpepper, which ensures that we’re thinking outside of the box and working together in the most effective way possible.

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Harder Better Faster Stronger by Daft Punk—One thing you can always count on at redpepper is an emphasis on growth. We’re goal setters, measuring real results and always taking time to seek improvements in our work and in our personal lives. We want our work to be stronger every single day as we learn from mistakes and successes alike.

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Cheerleader by OMI—At redpepper, we use a communication platform called Slack. Basically, it is a way for all of us to communicate effortlessly among our individual teams and as a whole. One of our Slack channels is called “Appreciation Station,” because we know the impact that an encouraging word has on those around us. We even have a little neon lightning bolt in Wonderland that lights up whenever anyone is appreciated in the channel for their outstanding work or character (learn more here). We like to consider ourselves to be our coworkers’ biggest cheerleaders, no matter what. And we always have the biggest fan base at rp sportsball events (we’re very good)!

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Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye—Our clients know that they will get the absolute best work from us, every time. No matter how tough the ask, redpepper always delivers. There just ain’t no mountain high enough to keep us from making sure our clients are thrilled when their project comes to a close.

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No Sleep Till Brooklyn by Beastie Boys—Once a year, redpepper stays up all night to take the marketing initiatives of a handful of non-profits to the next level, free of charge. CreateAthon is a 24-hour blitz of creativity and passion, an opportunity for redpepper to bless the community of Middle Tennessee and have fun while doing it. But yeah, there’s definitely no sleep during CreateAthon.

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Celebration by Kool & the Gang—redpeppers aren’t afraid to party. We love to celebrate success with each other. Though redpepper is dedicated to excellence, what we do is fun. We get to take people’s dreams for their companies and turn them into realities. We get to see brands go from barely visible to highly successful. We love what we do at redpepper, and as much time as we spend working, we love to celebrate as well.

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The redpepper experience is dynamic, and just like many different genres of music, many different people call themselves, with pride, redpeppers. That’s what makes redpepper so special—it places such a high emphasis on culture that you really can’t walk away from time as a redpepper unchanged. As long as you stay in tune, you’ll find that being a redpepper is bound to be your forte.

I’m so sorry for the terrible puns.

 

Abbye Rhodes, Client Services Intern, Knoxville, TN

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Saying YES to the redpepper Experience

Saying YES to the redpepper Experience

Being an intern at redpepper is an amazing opportunity not only due to the people, the space, and the culture, but also because of the focus placed on personal growth. Active support of personal growth is one of the five core values at redpepper. The other four are: engage each other’s strengths and passions, provide creativity with provable benefits, appreciate that everyone is uniquely creative, and know that if we are not changing we are dying. We share these values with new clients and internally use them to guide the work we do for those clients from the beginning of a project through to the end. Our values are truly an ever-present mindset around redpepper that provide the basis of the agency’s success.

Ways to grow while applying these values in the work you do as an intern include, but are not limited to: meeting new people, trying new things, and taking on new challenges—all of which occur at redpepper daily.

The way to grow on purpose—and the key to getting the most out of your time here as an intern— is to say one word to anything thrown your direction and that word is yes.

Say yes to the agency
Get excited! You were picked to be an intern at an amazing, innovative agency. The first step is to accept the internship and show up on your first day ready to embrace the agency as a whole. Come through the doors, explore the cool space which promotes many modes of productivity, and know that you will be doing a lot of great work as a member of the redpepper team during your semester here.

 

Say yes to new redpeppers
Get to know your mentors. They are your main point of contact within the agency. They are there to support and teach you what they know while you shadow and help them. However, these are not the only people you should talk with… there are 40 redpeppers to connect with, learn from, and inspire you to be your best! So, reach out to everyone around the agency. Knowing all the makers, planners, and executives only makes your time here better. Ask if you can assist them and ask them what they do for redpepper to make it wonderful.

 

Say yes to new departments
Whether you are a production services, event, creative, marketing, or client services intern make yourself available to everyone. Your strengths can be utilized to help any department. Working across departments is an opportunity to try something outside of your comfort zone that may be rewarding while also being something you probably wouldn’t have done before.

 

Say yes to new tasks
An internship is all about doing new, professional things and trying out the “real world” while you are still in school.  Be sure to take on tasks that are exciting and challenging around redpepper that relate to what you want to do in the future.  It may be scary at first, but just go for it!

 

Say yes to new friendships
Not only do you get to meet all the full time redpeppers, but you get an automatic group of friends in the other interns.  Interns at redpepper are from all over the US and attend many different universities, so put aside your school rivalries and get ready for the best times with the coolest ‘terns around.  Whether it be walks to lunch around Germantown, nights in downtown Nashville, or just sitting working together in Wonderland- it’s great.  

 

Say yes to the extras
Go to the Sounds game with the redpeppers, join the book club, go to the sportsball games, join in on the happy hours, attend new business celebrations, and go to lunch with people.  These are all fun things that you can do with the people you work with so don’t miss out!

 

Say yes to HUSTLE & GROW!

Andie Tradler, Production Services intern, Bradenton, FL

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Stronger Signals - Feedback and Connectivity at rp

Stronger Signals - Feedback and Connectivity at rp

Spend any time perusing this blog or the company website and it quickly becomes apparent that redpepper is not like other creative agencies. Clients are enthralled by our work and our innovative ideas have made waves throughout the internet. The quality of the people working here, both personally and professionally, is frightening. Companies would kill for a sliver of the creativity that oozes out of Wonderland. This is a special agency, as rare as lightning striking twice.

That’s why I struggled to enjoy my first few weeks here; I didn’t know if I could live up to the standards. redpepper has blended together such a high grade of output with a very particular crop of people, and it can be intimidating trying to find your place as a new intern.

I wasn’t happy with the quality of work I was producing for my team and I doubted almost every approach I made to helping out. I was stuck in my shell and I wasn’t open to meeting more of the agency then who was immediately around me. This was the darkest timeline.

I finally stepped up and did something about it. This is my advice on how I turned my experience around through honest feedback and communication.

The mindset

The first step was evaluating my own attitude towards improving myself. I wanted everything to be easy, but this was unrealistic and is not conducive towards active growth. No pain, no gain, right? From there I needed to get critique on the projects I was working on and see where I was excelling, where I was lagging, and what next steps I needed to take. While your mentors and other peppers will approach you with helpful feedback, the most complete refinement comes from taking the initiative and seeking out that advice for yourself. You’ve gotta want it! You own your own growth; nobody else will do it for you.

In addition, the mindset you have while receiving critique will completely alter your interpretation of it. There’s a huge difference between criticism and feedback, and the distinction comes through at redpepper every day. Criticism attacks the personal character of the individual and will only mention faults in the work:

“You never prepare the rooms right,” or “your report wasn’t very detailed, you aren’t putting enough time into this.”

While feedback evaluates the work with the intention of cultivating growth. Feedback is almost always accompanied by remedies for correcting a deficiency or tips to sharpening a skill.

“Here’s what I like about this setup, and next time you could try X to take it to the next level,” or “I was looking for information on X: if you could dig up more in that category, we would really be onto something.”

These are two examples that better communicate the same messages as before, but the intentions behind the techniques are distinct; redpepper is solely concerned with the latter.

Knowing your resources

Once I retuned my antenna on how I could improve, I went to those in the company I knew were a resource in helping to better understand expectations. I sat down with Tim, our CEO and fearless leader, to get his take on giving and receiving feedback.

“Feedback drives performance,” he opened with, eyes to the ground so as to craft his response. “It’s all about changing viewpoints, about perspective,” commenting on how outside eyes can elevate our output from good to great.

Become familiar with the people in the agency whose work you want to learn from. Read their articles, watch their videos, go to their meetings: spend every second you can familiarizing yourself with different people and their strengths and weaknesses. Develop that list and cultivate the relationships: when the time comes that you do need someone’s help, it’s easier to ask a friend than a stranger.

Framing

It’s only funny in retrospect that I approached Tim by asking if we “could chat for two minutes,” and our conversation ended up running upwards of fifteen. Toward the end, he actually gave me feedback on how I could have better framed my “ask” to be more realistic in terms of time, which got me thinking more about how to maximize the inputs we receive from others.

To get the most out of a coworker or mentor, you have to ask for the right kind of feedback. General inquiries such as “Read my report and tell me what you think” are open to all kinds of interpretation; you don’t want this, as it isn’t conducive to really improving you or the work. Instead, ask specific, targeted questions that dial into the weakest parts of your performance and own the responses. Approach different departments for those shifting perspectives and watch multiple interpretations work into one cohesive revision.

Onward and upward

After I realigned my head and received honest, tangible feedback from my resources, I spent time every day planning out what I wanted to get done and I didn’t let myself walk out the door until my list was checked off.

Since those first few weeks, my outlook on redpepper has changed completely. Once you take initiative to own your own growth, constantly seeking feedback and craving to be better everyday, the benefits will be overflowing. The agency will thank you for your commitment, your fellow interns will notice your hustle, and you will have invested into further growing.

Tim summed up our chat by reminding me that being mindful about the process helps every step: your attitude will shape what kind of feedback you want, your resources determine what you receive, and your framing influences how you act on all of it. When you put all three together, it’s as if lightning strikes twice.

Gabe Gonzales, rpMarketing Intern, Lubbock, TX

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How to Create an Idea, the rp Way.

How to Create an Idea, the rp Way.

“So, what makes your company culture unique?” If you’re a junior or senior in college, you’ve probably asked your prospective employers this question at the end of the interview. You also probably got some vague, unenthusiastic answer that left you feeling more confused than ever.

In my few short weeks at redpepper, however, I’ve found that the staff is anything but half-hearted about the culture they’ve created. I noticed this during my first few weeks as I experienced the learning curve that is the unique rp verbiage. Forbes writes that a culture should include tools that employees can use to motivate each other, and that “fun” should exist to inspire creativity, not lure talent. And one of our main tools at rp is our constantly evolving glossary of terms that guide the fun that we have every day. Part of this everyday fun-having is our informal problem-solving process, that we usually use without even thinking about it! In fact, I used it to solve the problem of writing this blog. In order to put our cultural jargon into context, I’m going to walk you through our Steps to Solving a Problem using our rp vernacular to guide the way.  

Step 1: Collecting Dots

A problem usually starts with collecting Dots, and sometimes, you don’t even know you are doing it. As I sat in on meetings, I started to find myself writing down terms that I didn’t know the definition of. As a result of feeling lost, a lightbulb went off in my brain and I began to form an idea.

Dots: There is nothing new under the sun. Only new combinations of things that already exist. Dots are pieces of information that can be collected through experience, learnings, or research. The more dots you put into your mind, the more mental reference points you will have to connect. Ideas come from the collision of dots.

When coming up with a creative idea to solve a problem for a project, the more dots you have in your head the better.
Inspiration: https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from

Step 2: Making Make Time

On Monday, I blocked off a chunk in my calendar dedicated to Make Time so I could sit down in our library and think. If I was feeling confused about some of our company jargon, then certainly others were feeling the same way. I wrote out a plan about what I envisioned for this post and how I wanted to show the reader all the unique words we use here every day.

Make Time: This is a meeting-free block of time for everyone to make, create, think, and get solid work done. Isolation is not required, but a clear calendar is — this means no team meetings, no dailies, no client calls, just empty space on our calendars. It's amazing what happens in the ~whitespace~. Keep this time sacred and use it effectively.

Step 3: Filling the Tank

Then, it was time for some Tank Filling. After talking to some SME’s (Subject Matter Experts), and doing some research I realized the importance of a consistent and cohesive company vernacular. I concluded that in order to walk like a pepper, you gotta talk like a pepper.  

Tank Filling: It’s our term for research. It’s the intentional act of “filling your tank” with dots you find in the world—and the more dots you have, the better. When it comes to creative problem solving, tank filling is our best friend.

Step 4: Bouncin’ Around

After I gathered some data, I decided to Bounce with Karen, another intern who described our rp glossary as intentional because, “we own those words, and we live them.” For me, that was some Pink/Gold.  

Bounce: A short informal huddle with 1-2 people to help you with your work. 5-15 mins max. Usually on one small aspect that you might be working on that day. "Hey, I am trying to get the right colors pulled together for this identity project, which of these two colors makes you think of 'energy' when you see it in this context?"  The idea here is to give the person you are bouncing with a very small frame in which to focus their feedback.

Pink/Gold: The most important information and insight that comes out of a conversation that you want to be sure gets carried forward.

Step 5: Zoning

I went into a Zone room, and put everything away, except for my pen and paper, and started to write all of this out. I had literally gone through the rp problem-solving process while coming up with the idea to write about our problem-solving process. ~inception~

Zoning: An intentional, dedicated 45-90 minute block of time for just you, the work, and nothing else—no phones, no people, no distractions. By directing your full attention to the problem at hand, your brain is free to peak perform and explore multiple angles, making connections and breakthroughs that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible.

Step 6: Getting some perspective

Finally, it was time to pitch the final idea to Elizabeth for feedback. Thankfully, she was able to give me some IP, and help me clarify my ideas, and edit this piece to make it near perfect!

IP (integrated perspective): Gaining the perspective of others helps to eliminate personal bias and brings the proper expertise to a given situation. ‘What IP do we need to seek out to make sure we are answering this key question carefully?’

Step 7: Aligning with the Team

This blog post has developed into my intern project. I’m working on creating a working glossary for rp so that interns and new hires can come into rp and have something to reference when they need it. Each week I’m going to present a new word to the rp team in Alignment and hopefully create a way to make it stick. Ideally, I’ll get it integrated into Slack so that anyone can look up a word, like an online dictionary. One month into the internship, and I’m already Hustlin’ & Growin’!

Alignment: This is the one time a week we all gather to align on our goals, celebrate our successes, teach something valuable, learn something new, and leave ready to peak perform in the week ahead.

Slack: Our primary tool for online communication. It’s a sophisticated instant messenger with groups for different projects, clients, or interests, as well as direct messaging so you can chat with anyone in the agency.

Taylor Grow, Client Services Intern, Vanderbilt University '17

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Meetings suck. Mondays suck. Meetings on Mondays?

Meetings suck. Mondays suck. Meetings on Mondays?

However, one of my favorite traditions here at redpepper just happens to be our weekly, Monday meetings, better known as Alignment. Think of every tired, stereotypical element of the average work meeting, flip it 180 degrees, add that unique redpepper flavor (it’s killing me not to call it spice), and you’ve got Alignment. More than just a weekly recap of each other’s work, Alignments are a chance to share insights, practice vulnerability, make connections, and inspire growth in one other.

We always start off with 5&5, a rapid-fire rundown of five successes from last week and five things to look forward to this week. There’s a certain pep rally element to starting this way that’s perfect for driving organizational momentum. Every week I find myself thinking “wow, I’m surrounded by amazing folks” followed by “let’s crush this week.” And as you get going every week, you start to see the narrative of the work take shape. From landing a new client to sustaining that ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship, our 5&5’s serve as a constant reminder just how strong this whole team is.

We always have one or two outstanding “redbits,” our version of TED talks, where one of the countless inspirational figures we get to work with shares a deep-dive on a passion topic of theirs. From learning about the purpose and importance of laughter, to a riveting look at the numerous benefits of daily meditation practice, redbits have been my glimpse into areas of work and life that I would otherwise have been blind to. I keep a running list of ideas, theories, subjects, and books I want to check out, and I’d say lately 90% of the content on there comes from these redbits. Great for growth; terrible for my Netflix queue.

Each Alignment we also have a couple “Hey, What’s Up, Hello’s”, our time for sharing backgrounds with each other. It’s nice to learn more about your coworkers and round out their personality with some information about where they’re from and what they like. I think that’s one of the things that makes this team so special. Rather than just taking for granted the notion that we should all learn a little bit about each other, we push for it here. We normalize it. We make it an expected part of life at redpepper, and we’re all the better for it.

But more than all that, Alignment’s true power comes from, as the name might suggest, aligning all of our various teams, interests, and objectives with intent, consistency, and energy. It’s so easy to go through the motions day-to-day, barely acknowledging each other with a mumbled “hi-howareyou-i’mgood” while we rush to the next team meeting. Siloed work has its merits (perhaps an unpopular opinion best discussed another time), but Alignment offers us the chance to become a team greater than the sum of its parts. Learning about each other’s work and lives reminds us that we’re all in it together -- that you’re not just one person driving away at your individual work, but you’re an important part of the redpepper ecosystem, playing the role you’re meant to play day-in and day-out.

When a team you’ve barely seen all week shares the awesome fruits of their labor, you can’t help but smile, clap, and cheer. When someone gets up to share their redbit about what gets them stoked to get up in the morning, you can’t help but listen, nod, and take notes. And when, as Alignment draws to a close, you’re again reminded that you get to be part of an amazing, cross-functional team of experts each pulling more than their weight and driving success for the organization as a whole, you can’t help but enthusiastically add your voice to the group as we unanimously cheer our motto closing each and every Alignment: “Hustle and Grow!”

Alex Borowski, rpLab Intern, Nashville, TN.

 

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Qualities I Notice in Peppers

Qualities I Notice in Peppers

Well… I’m back! The name’s Sarah, former accounting intern (Spring 2016), but this time around I get to develop that into the Team and Culture Development internship. I get to jump in headfirst - forget about the initial easing into assignments to get the swing of things – and just start off kicking some booty, hustlin’, and growin’ some more (because I can never seem to get enough). Plus, it goes to show how great it is here at redpepper, considering I am back for a second round.

Now that I got that introduction out of the way, the other day I was reading an article (yes, I sometimes still read stuff longer than 140 characters) titled “’Only Connect…’ The Goals of a Liberal Education” by William Cronon. Like the tittle suggests, it lists qualities of a liberally educated individual, or “one that celebrates and nurtures human freedom.” While going through the list, I realized that every quality describes the people at redpepper, the company as a whole, and the core values that the culture is built around. So, I decided to share these qualities and reflect on what I’ve experienced during my time here, what I hope to improve on here, and even how I can incorporate these core values into my daily life. Okay, enough chitchat, but if you want to read the original article, you can do so here.

Listed qualities of a liberal arts education, (and of fellow peppers):

1. Listen and they hear.

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Yeah, yeah, whatever you say…just kidding. One aspect I’ve noticed is it is essential to listen to others and it’s apparent that this happens constantly at redpepper. They collaborate and listen to everyone for inputs, instructions, and encouragement. Plus, they have to listen to clients… because if they’re not happy, we’re not happy.

2. They read and they understand.

I won’t ramble on this one because it’s similar to listening. Reading and understanding is like listening and hearing for the eyes (so deep, I know).

3. They can talk with anyone.

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If you’ve been to an alignment meeting, or even popped in on any of the other meetings, you can see that people here know how to talk. I’ve been in meetings that were more impressive and engaging than most of my course lectures. I could only hope to grow into the type of presenter that I’ve seen and heard during my time here. It’s something I aspire to, but understand it takes practice so I don’t freeze up or start sweating beforehand.

4. They can write clearly and persuasively and movingly.

Part of marketing and advertising is delivering a message, or telling a story in a picture or short video. I’m no writer, and would always be up

5. They can solve a wide variety of puzzles and problems.

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From Lindsey G. in finance, to Jake in tech – everyone has a talent for problem solving and knows how to break situations into manageable pieces so they can kick butt and get stuff done.

6. They respect rigor not so much for its own sake but as a way of seeking truth.

One of the company’s values, “we actively support personal growth” shows this passion for continued learning and us interns show a passion for learning outside of the classroom as a result also.

7. They practice humility, tolerance, and self-criticism.

Everyone is open to each others’ perspectives, even if that means challenging their own perspective, because having a team is so much more fun and rewarding in the end. Oh what was that? Another company value fits here too? You’re right! “If we aren’t changing, we’re dying” gets the message across that being open allows us to learn, adapt, hustle, and grow.

8. They understand how to get things done in the world.

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Well, it is a business after all. At redpepper we have a value “we provide creativity with provable benefits,” which means all of the fun we have makes sense in the real world…it provides results. But “the world” for them doesn’t end in money, they also give back.

9. They nurture and empower the people around them.

Everyone is always encouraging one another and showing appreciation for the hard work that they do. The slack channel #appreciation-station is a great example of this. The value “we engage each others strengths and passions” fits right into this quality, just saying.

10. They follow “Only connect”

“More than anything else, being an educated person means being able to see connections that allow one to make sense of the world and act within it in creative ways” (Cronon). Again, a company value “we believe everyone is uniquely creative” fits so well. The vibe here is one that combines everyone’s unique and creative talents together to provide a greater sum of its parts (woah, did I just describe synergy? My strategic management professor would be proud).

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Overall, I have realized that it is not common to run across a company like redpepper, let a lone a company that provides such a learning environment for us interns. I’m glad to be back, and excited to strengthen a few of these qualities within myself in the meantime.

Sarah Raisian, San Jose, CA, Team and Culture Development intern

Source: Cronon, William . "'Only Connect...' The Goals of a Liberal Education.” The American Scholar Volume 67, No. 4, 1998. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

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The Secret to a Perfect redpepper Internship. It’s in the Beans

The Secret to a Perfect redpepper Internship.  It’s in the Beans

As a redpepper intern, it is practically a job qualification to be slightly addicted to coffee (Don’t fret, you non-coffee lovers. We’ll still love and accept you. We also have a wide array of tea selections.) For me, I am used to having a coffee i.v. inserted in my arm every Monday morning. So when I walked into redpepper’s doors on the very first day of my internship and discovered they had their own coffee brand, I knew I belonged. So how do you whip up the proverbial ‘Perfect Cup of Coffee’ and have the best internship experience, ever? Here’s my guide:

1.Select your perfect brew.

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It’s important to choose the perfect internship for YOU. A company’s culture is the number one thing to consider and is what I focused on primarily during my internship search. Naturally, after stumbling upon redpepper, a company who puts their culture first, I was hooked. You can never be happy in a situation that is not a good fit. So when you do find the best fit, it’s equivalent to taking that first heavenly sip of joe in the morning. It’s magical.

2. Wait patiently taking in ALL the sweet aromas as your perfect blend brews.
When first starting your internship, you may feel a little overwhelmed not knowing where to begin. This is when I advise just chill for a hot second. Look around and take a deep breath. Everyone at redpepper wants you to excel. Listen and learn from everyone you meet and very soon you’ll be doing some really cool stuff, like possibly listening to the Creative Director of Mattel dive into the background of the evolution of Barbie. (Yes. This totally happened.)

3. Add just a spoonful of sugar (and tons of yummy creamer.)
Mama always said “Honey attracts more bees than vinegar.” Well, she was right. redpepper is all about encouraging and pushing one another towards the end goals. So no bad attitudes. Instead offer a helping hand when not asked or better yet step out of your comfort zone and make a new friend. If you’re lucky that same friend will later turn around and lend a helping hand when you’ve overwhelmed yourself with an ambitious project. Interning is about building your own network of trusted peers who will always have your back.

4. Create a little Latte Art on top.
Now is your time to shine! Finally, the opportunity to put your personal stamp on the finished project and show off all those amazing skills and ideas which landed you the internship to begin with. So go on! Be creative, push yourself, and take some risks! redpepper’s famous motto “Hustle & Grow” totally rings true here.

5. Make a cup for someone else.
As in all aspects of life, the only thing better than receiving is giving. Whether that’s giving a Christmas present, brightening someone’s day with a cup of coffee, or sharing the wonderful knowledge and insights you have received from your internship experience. I had the distinct privilege of participating in redpepper’s Create-A-Thon. Chugging tons of coffee and endless hours of copy writing was totally worth it when presenting to such a deserving non-profit as Hospital Hospitality House. If you have a chance, check them out at:   

Now it’s time for this semester’s class to bid adieu. As we walk out those doors, we grab a hold of our perfected cup of joes and look over our shoulders smiling upon our experiences at redpepper; proud of the small mark we have left. Now it’s up to you, the newest class of baristas, to out-do our perfectly hand-crafted coffee concoctions and hopefully leave redpepper better than you found it.

Stormy Rains, 

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Culture isn’t nailed to the floor. Take it with you.

If redpepper has one thing going for it, it’s culture. It’s no secret that the quality of work going out the door is top notch and the office space is pretty rad, but the culture that floats around these parts is the glue that keeps it all together. It’s not just the icing on the cake; it is the cake.

It’s a growing trend for creative agencies, tech companies and startups to bellow from the rooftops about how much they value culture and how great theirs is. You could be forgiven for thinking all of these places seem like their own version of Disney World, expertly curated to meet all your modern work/leisure needs, but let’s get real here: a keg doesn’t equate to culture. A “games room” doesn’t give your company personality. Catered lunch doesn’t define your values. Sure, these are great perks, some of which we are lucky enough to have at redpepper, but these things alone do not — and never will—constitute company culture.

The secret to our positive company culture is in how we communicate, not just with the guy sitting at the next desk, but across the entire agency. Weekly Alignment is one of the cornerstones of redpepper life, and the key to communication throughout the company. Every Monday afternoon at 4:15, we all get together and highlight the accomplishments of the previous week, giving shoutouts to the folks responsible, and point to the work coming up in the week ahead. This might seem like no big deal, but if you’ve had your head buried in a single project for a whole week, it’s nice to know what everyone has been doing and what work is coming in the door. This defines redpepper’s culture by establishing a clear, welcoming, and open line of communication throughout the company, and keeps everyone on the same page. From the people who crunch the numbers to the creative team, a clear thread of transparency and trust running through the agency helps us maintain a positive working environment.

Slack is used by millions of teams worldwide, but how many of them have a channel called The Appreciation Station? Having a place where we can all give each other a shoutout for doing great work and good deeds is a massively positive force in the work place, especially when you get a shoutout and everyone starts reacting with the zap emoji. ⚡️⚡️⚡️ (Even the coldest of hearts must feel something after a couple of those.) redpepper’s positive and inclusive team environment is dependent upon giving credit where credit is due and being encouraging to one another. They say it’s the little things that count, and this is one of them. Giving someone a tiny tip of the cap can really have a massive impact on their self esteem, their work, and in the end, positive company culture. Don’t get me wrong — this isn’t about going around telling each other we’re great 24/7, but having an outlet where you can make someone’s or everyone’s day a big bit brighter with a quick sentence is pretty special.

redpepper has built one of the most creative, supportive and empowering teams I have ever been part of. It’s how these people shape the space around them that makes this company so special, not the beer on tap or the indoor putting green. Anyone can buy beer on tap, but very few companies can nurture true culture the way these folks do.

So, if you come to redpepper from the Vanderbilt intern program or you come as a recent graduate, come with eyes wide open and ears perked up. Maybe you’ll discover the advertising agency world isn’t for you, and that’s totally cool. If you take anything away from your time at redpepper, take away the culture. Take it to your next gig and the gig after that. With every opportunity you are given in your career, you have the chance to be an agent for change. I doubt many places beat to a similar drum as redpepper, so if you like what you hear, take that drum and make sure it gets heard wherever you go. People will thank you for it.

Blair McMillan, tech intern, Glasgow, Scotland. Find me on the socials @yourweepal

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5 Reasons to Be Thankful for Interning at redpepper

5 Reasons to Be Thankful for Interning at redpepper


This fall, I have been working as a lab and innovation services intern. Interning at redpepper has been nothing short of an amazing experience. Between awesome projects, createathon, and an awesome Halloween, it’s truly a unique, wild and exciting place to spend my fall semester. With Thanksgiving finally upon us, I thought it would be appropriate to give five reasons why I am thankful for the opportunity to intern at redpepper.

1. The freedom given to interns to explore!

redpepper allows you to jump outside your comfort zone and get experience in something you may not have ever done. Are you a design intern that wants to learn a little bit about account management? redpepper employees are happy to let you help out in different areas. I’ve been able to gain experience in more places than I ever imagined when I started at redpepper.

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2. Being encouraged to be creative

Feeling creative? Think you can create something that will help redpepper? Go for it! redpepper encourages creative outside the box projects and will give you the time, resources, and expertise for you to complete it. redpepper even has a cool science fair-like event where interns present a project they’ve been working on throughout the semester they have been working on. It’s a cool little way to make an impact at redpepper.

3. The dogs

Dogs! One of the first things you learn at redpepper is that besides the 34 or so happy employees to greet you each day, there is bound to be someone a little smaller and much furrier to greet you as well. Dogs and redpepper are like musicians and Nashville; they are everywhere and they are part of the experience itself! Need a break from some particularly stressful work? Play with one of the many puppies running around the office. Both of you will be happier from it!

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4.    The people.

The people at redpepper are some of the most intelligent, kindest, and welcoming people you will ever meet. Everyone wants to help you learn and grow! I would encourage any future interns to sit down one-on-one with as many of the awesome people as they can.  You will find that you can learn something from every person and every conversation you have. A quick lunch conversation with Justin, a UX designer at redpepper, quickly developed in a lesson on how to better frame a story when presenting. Each conversation contains morsels of valuable information if you listen intently. I promise that if they are working at redpepper, you know they are worth learning from!

5. The experience.

The experience itself is what truly makes a redpepper internship so special. Whether it’s gaining insightful experience from a project, participating in the crazy event known as CreateAthon, or just hanging out with one of your 12 other interns, one way or another, you will be glad you interned at redpepper. The learning experience is second to none, and your intern class quickly become some of you’re great friends.

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While these are some of things I was thankful for, every intern has a little bit of a different experience at redpepper. You are given tremendous freedom and with that comes responsibility to work hard and find areas where you want to learn. A redpepper internship is really about what you put into it. If you work hard, you’ll find that you came away with a special mix of experience and knowledge. That is why by the end of your semester, there is one mantra you won’t want to forget for the rest of your life: Hustle & Grow!

Michael Halperin, Lab & Innovation Services Intern, Jericho, NY

 

 

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